Sometimes, God is silent. As believers, we’ve all been there, if not right now, we will be at some time in our spiritual walk. We may earnestly seek God, but in return only sense His silence. This silence can be difficult, frustrating even excruciating. Even long-time followers of Christ have seasons where they have difficulty discerning the voice of God.
Before we look at what we can do to hear God’s voice, I want to remind us that we have an enemy of our soul that would have us believe that God does not speak to us. This is a lie. A relationship with God is just that – a relationship, a communing with the God of heaven which includes Him speaking to us, and we speak to Him in prayer.
Isaiah 30:21 – “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you, a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.”
Four things to do when you are not hearing from God:
- Fervently and frequently ask God to improve your hearing. A heart that truly longs to hear from the Lord can ask the Lord to improve their hearing because it is God’s will and desire for us to hear His voice. He also promises to provide wisdom generously if we ask.
James 1:7 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
What does happen over time, however, is that we become “dull of hearing” as it says in the King James, or as the NIV puts it we “no longer try to understand.” We get out of the habit of regularly wanting to hear from God or even taking the time to hear from God, therefore it is necessary as a check on our hearts, to regularly ask God to improve our hearing.
- Reduce the ambient noise in your life. Noise is a characteristic of modern life. Every day we are bombarded with ambient noise so that we go to sleep with white noise, have noise-canceling headphones and even create noise to improve our concentration. Another form of noise in our lives is what advertisers call social media noise, which refers to the amount of social media we, as customers are exposed to. Every day we are bombarded with messages and voices that very often drown out anything we may hear from God. Even our mouths may become a sound that interrupts listening, so busy having a say that we hardly listen.
Prov 17:28 “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Stillness is required. Many of us quote Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God,” but few of us practice it. If we want to hear from God we need to get away from the noise of society, disconnect from social media and find silence. Only then, are we positioned to hear from God. This is not a special occasion event, but what many people call a quiet time, a period in the day that is focused on listening to God. Even getting away for a few days on retreat, is effectively a concentrated period of focusing on God.
- Fill your head with Scripture, the Holy Spirit will bring into remembrance that which He needs you to remember and understand.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.“ (John 14:26).
However, as I have said countless times before, how can the Spirit bring it into remembrance if you have not hidden it in your heart to start with. If you feel that you are not hearing from God, starting with the Word of God, His very words written for us.
Meditate on the Word, very often we read the word of God, but do not take the time to think what it says and how it is to impact our lives. Very often it is the implementation of His word that God wants to speak to us about, and not necessarily what we want to hear. We need to take the time to understand what the Spirit is saying to us.
- An ongoing pattern of wrongdoing compromises communication – in both directions. Our prayer doesn’t get to God and God’s prompting can’t get to us. Sin blocks the communication channels like a veritable frog stuck in a pipe. Very often we know about the problem, our conscience has already been pricked! However, the longer we ignore our conscience, the more our hearts become hardened to the problem of sin in our lives and consequently the more our hearts become hardened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in general.
An honest examination of our life will enable the Holy Spirit to have an opportunity to show us the blockage. Once we confess our sin and take steps to repent of this wrongdoing in our lives, communication channels are free and open, ready for the Holy Spirit to reveal God the Father’s heart to us.
If our conscience is clear, there is one further question I always ask myself: “Is there something that God has clearly told me to do, that I have not been obedient in?” Lack of obedience is also a sin. We may delay, allow ourselves to become distracted, purposefully forget what we were told to do or even deny that God has spoken to us. The path to correction is still the same. Confess your disobedience and rectify as soon as possible. Immediately instruction and communication will start to flow as you indicate to God an obedient heart.
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me today that I am in a relationship with You and therefore able to commune with You. Please help me to create an environment in my life that promotes hearing from You. Help me to be disciplined in spending time in your Word and meditating on it in silence. Help me to focus on what the Spirit is trying to say to me and the prompting I am sensing in my heart. Help me to examine my life and identify any blockages in our communication that may be hindering my heart from hearing from You. Thank you for making it possible to hear your voice in my heart. Speak to me now Lord and make my heart attentive to Your voice.